Duncan Ashley, the Councillor for Amherst Island, says in his 23 years of municipal politics, he has never seen the community torn apart like the way the discussion surround Amherst Island’s new wind farm does.
Thursday night, residents crowded the council chambers and were unexpectedly given the chance to speak about Windlectric’s plan to carry out construction on the island.
Ashley says it’s his job, along with the other councillors, to ensure everyone in the community has a voice.
“At this point, it is a very emotional issue and council has a difficult job because we have to represent everybody, Ashley said. “And I think the best thing we can do is make sure everybody has the opportunity to be heard. If people get muzzled, then we are not doing our job. And again, I think that’s the route we took tonight… it was not for fear, but for the public’s right to be heard.”
After hearing from four residents, council voted 6-1 to defer a decision on whether or not to accept the company’s operations plan.
The 555-page document covers everything from road use to the request for noise by-law exemptions. Council only had two days to review it before the vote.
For months, Windlectric has been amending the plan to address concerns about how the turbine project will affect infrastructure.
Municipal staff have had a chance to review the document and are recommending that council approve it when it comes back for a vote in August.